dc: (Satellite 2)
I seem to have been pretty much hibernating since the end of Satellite 2. The Dead Dog ended when we left after 1am on Monday morning, I got back and slept for a while, waking up at some point (there was daylight) to snaffle some food and then crawled back into bed. Yesterday, woke up early, got up and had breakfast then crawled back into bed... Bit of a pattern there. While having breakfast, I watched the Lugosi Dracula, a secondhand DVD I got from At the Sign of the Dragon, the dealer we had at the con. (I have a small passion for the Universal horror films of the Thirties/Forties.) Its pacing was ideal for my tired brain; I wasn't too tired, though, to appreciate that Lugosi was actually rather impressive in the role, allowing for the different style of acting of the time. It has been quite some time since I last saw the film, and I had forgotten the way Browning makes it look as though Lugosi has walked through a web without disturbing it: simply done, but very effective. However, I would really like to get my hands on a copy of the simultaneously filmed Spanish version: the actor playing Dracula may be less skilled than Lugosi, but from the clips on the disc's extras, the direction is much superior.

Anyway, not really what I set out to write about. After all my banging on about it to everyone I met for the better part of eighteen months, we finally got Satellite 2 to the launch pad on Saturday morning. There was an odd moment when I looked at the registration desk — laden with leaflets and booklets — and thought, Oh, shit! I haven't brought any Satellite 2 flyers! And then I remembered this was actually it...

The opening ceremony started with a film of Apollo 11 launching to the accompaniment of Also Sprach Zarathustra[*]; then a big pink foot came down and the Python theme started[**], which is when we walked in and took our places. The Python bit seemed to go down very well, as did the choice of a white waistcoat to mark the DCM: a fair number of people got that.

And then we were into the con, with a programme which seemed to be well-liked. Certainly there were times when it was hard to get gophers because everyone wanted to go a programme item, and Ken MacLeod commented on how much of the programme he wanted to see. Iain M. Banks was a superb guest of honour, approachable and enthusuastically taking part. (With him and Ken at Satellite 1, we have been very lucky with our guests of honour.) The oddest comment about the con I have heard came from someone who did not come to it. I am told that someone was attempting to persuade a media fan to come along and got the response that it was a space advocacy convention masquerading as a science fiction convention. Um, no, I don't think so. Yes, there were some items in the science stream which could fairly be described as space advocacy (and I don't see a problem with that at an SF con), but it wasn't by any means a majority of the programme. Of the programme items I saw (either whole or in part), the ones which were highlights for me were Inadvisable Rocket Science[***] and Iain Banks's Room 101. I particularly loved his diatribe against Michael O'Leary, the boss of Ryanair. He referred to one of the ships in Matter, The Hundredth Idiot: the source of the name is a quotation. ‘100 idiots make idiotic plans, and carry them out. All but one justly fail. The hundredth idiot, whose plans succeeded through pure luck, is immediately convinced he’s a genius.’

When I read Matter, Michael O'Leary was exactly the sort of person I thought of at that point.

I'm not quite sure exactly how the balance falls between scary and gratifying, but there were quite a few people asking about a Satellite 3.... Gulp.

I feel like going back to bed... I lasted quite well through the con, despite that awful bout of neck pain last week (it really buggered things up, although I got a lot of rest I was trying to catch up from quite a spoon deficit because of that). Admittedly, I had to use some Red Bull, but I lasted the con. Flopping at the Dead Dog was needed, though. I am hoping that by tomorrow I will be back to something like a normal sleep/wake ratio. Friday morning, of course, I need to get my father to the Beatson. (He's eating much better, by the way: the stent has really helped.)

Oh, while I remember: if you have any con reports from Satellite 2 (or see any), could you point me to them? (No, I haven't caught up with DW/LJ. Don't be silly.)

[* Which brought back memories: the BBC used it as the theme for their Apollo 11 coverage.]

[** This year is also the 40th anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python's Flying Circus, if you didn't know.]

[*** A nuclear ramjet, planned to fly at low altitude at Mach 3 with an unshielded nuclear reactor spewing a radioactive trail behind it? As Phil Wellings said, the capacity to delivery nuclear bombs would have been almost redundant.]

dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
Two days to go until Satellite 2; I was digging out something for the con last night and came across my folder from Satellite 1, with my notes for the closing ceremony at the top. (Most of the notes are on the lines of Thank X.) That was a good day; I expect Satellite 2 to be much better.

I think I am almost back at where I wanted to be this week in terms of preparation. I got seriously knocked down by neck pain (much the worst I have ever had) on Tuesday night, which left me out of it for most of yesterday. Bit of luck it hit after I got the new analgesic prescription; it definitely helped.

Anyway, I have now spent five minutes doing this, which is long enough; I have more to do, so better get on with it.

dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
It's 4 days until Satellite 2, which is definitely going to be the best con in Scotland this year! Latest news is Ken MacLeod is definitely coming; he was the GoH at Satellite 1, and frankly the sort of GoH a concom dreams of, really throwing himself into it. He'll probably be having a deservedly more relaxed con this time. It's good to see him coming back.

Among all the various con preps, CAPCOM asked me a while ago if I'd mind being on one of the panels. I said OK, not thinking too deeply about it, only realising in the past week or so this is going to be a panel on the Culture, on the main stage, with Iain M. Banks on it. No pressure, then. (I had already snaffled a copy of A Few Notes on the Culture for my PRS, probably a good thing.)

One of the good things about not being directly involved in the programme organisation is that I can look at what is being lined up and honestly say this is a con I would good to even if I weren't involved in organising it. There is some interesting serious stuff, and some fun silly stuff. 2009 is not just the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's flight, there's another 40th anniversary this year, too, and we're going to be nodding (or possibly, stomping) towards that.

Apart from the con....

I may have mentioned this before, if so, apologies. My father's got his date to be admitted to the Beatson for assessment: a week on Friday. This is going to be fun, since he has to go to the Western first to have a cardiac monitor fitted, then go to the Beatson (which is no longer on the Western site, of course). The good news is the stent is helping him eat and it seems to be benefitting him.

I have had a very rough few days, so I managed to see a GP today. I have new analgesics (which may or may not make a difference) and some antibiotics; there's a possibility of oral steroids if I need them. I guess I'm not going to be taking much of the real ale at the con.

Interesting DVD releases just now. Carl Sagan's series Cosmos has just been released; it says, digitally restored and remastered, but not sure if this is new restoration, etc., since the copyright info on the box suggests this was produced in 2000. A completely different release, about which I can only say it really is about bloody time, is Tutti Frutti (which is now more than 20 years old, hard as that is to believe).

dc: (Satellite 2)
The Satellite 2 programme is now online. There's still a few days left to join at the pre-con rate, by the way, so if you haven't already joined....
dc: (Satellite 2)
July's Trout is tomorrow, Thursday 9th, as usual in the back area of the Cask & Still, Hope St. Satellite 2 is only a couple of weeks away now, so this is your last chance to get membership at pre-con rates if you haven't already joined.

Satellite 2 is going to be a fun-packed weekend, with serious items on stuff like the Apollo guidance computer, panels on the Moon in SF and on Iain M. Banks's work, quizzes, silly games (I believe the ever-popular Finding Uranus is returning!), a disco on the Saturday evening, and of course a dealers' room/art show.

If you haven't joined up yet, why not?

If you have... have you thought about volunteering to help? The con is run by its members, and everyone can contribute. A little light gophering is a good way to meet people and can make the con a lot more fun, especially if it's your first time.

[crossposted to [community profile] trout and [livejournal.com profile] glasgow_fen]


May. 25th, 2009 05:13 pm
dc: Me, in a pub.  (sandwiches!)
One of the annoying things about not being properly online most of the time is not being able to properly follow the news when it's interesting — as it has been recently. At the Iain M. Banks/Ken MacLeod event in Balloch* last Friday, they were wondering whether or not there might be a revolution of sorts in progress. Maybe... At least PR is now being talked about by more than the usual suspects. And without PR, how can the system be made remotely trustworthy? As more than one person has noted, the MPs who were most diligently abusing the expenses system were the ones with the safest seats. It is astonishing that so many MPs still seem not to understand what is pissing people off so much — no satirist would ever have tried to pull off something like Anthony Steen's comments. The Archbishop of Canterbury's suggestion that the humiliation of MPs should stop seems to me to miss the point. Many will now be wondering whether the point has not been adequately made — it's not been anything like adequately made if there are still MPs wondering what right the public has to know what they are up to with their expenses. A bit of humiliation for some seems overdue: maybe it will provoke some humility.

The one real worry about the timing of this is that it might boost the BNP's vote in some areas; not likely in these parts, but in bits of England, maybe. That would be a very depressing result. Good for the Archbishops of York and Canterbury for speaking out against the BNP: I wouldn't normally like faith leaders doing something like that regarding party politics, but if the BNP are going to claim that Jesus would vote for them, it's fair enough for the bishes to counter that.

It would be good to think that we are about to see a major reform of the political system to make it more representative and inclusive; but who knows? As Iain Banks said on Friday, Lenin said there would be a revolution, but not in his lifetime... in 1916.

Anyway, tomorrow going to take my father to hospital; I would like to think he would be sorted out before I go off on holiday, but I wouldn't bet on it. (I travel a week on Tuesday.) *sigh*

[*Which was fun, by the way, and we got some interest for [livejournal.com profile] satellite_2 too.]
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
Well, I went to Eastercon (LX, in Bradford) and had a good time. My original plan had been to take the laptop, but when I saw what the hotel was going to charge for wifi I reconsidered that plan, which seems to have been wise. (Not only was it very expensive, it didn't work very well, if you will excuse the understatement.[*]) Given that I started to feel unwell the night before I travelled down (still not sure what was going on there), and that something was giving me much grief at the hotel in the form of allergies affecting eyes, nose and throat, the spoons lasted pretty well. In fact, bizarrely, the single worst bit of the con was the closing ceremony: sitting in a chair with poor support for more than an hour wiped me out. By about two thirds of the way through it I was seriously despooning. Fortunately, there was sustenance in Ops which revived me so that I was fit to head out for the train. Anyway, I'll try to post a bit more about the con when I have more time. It was good fun, saw lots of lovely people, had an astonishing amount of hugs and free alcohol... Yep. Fun.

Today I surfaced for a bit, met a friend and went to the cinema (In The Loop — more vituperation per minute than any other film). Soon I need to drag myself home. Oh, and by the way... If anyone doesn't know or has forgotten, Satellite 2 in July in Glasgow will be a jolly good convention, with Iain M. Banks, science, lots of fun, and real ale. You know you want to be there.

Oh, and in case it isn't obvious: I have not remotely caught up with my flist. :(

[* One of my favourite overheard exchanges from the con: Fan: Your wifi in this hotel's shite! Hotel staff: Yeah, that's why I don't use it.]
dc: Me, in a pub.  (Default)
Iain M. Banks's forthcoming book, Transition, which is due to be published on September 3rd, will be previewed at [livejournal.com profile] satellite_2 in July, where he will be reading from it. First chance to get a glimpse of this new book!
dc: (Satellite 1)
In case you haven't noticed, it's 2009. Which is 40 years since 1969, the year Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. How's a fan to celebrate an event like that? Why, by going to a con, of course! Over the weekend of July 25-26th, Satellite 2 will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Glasgow. It will offer the same mix of fun and serious programming as Satellite 1 did, the GoH is Iain M. Banks... so what are you waiting for? Memberships available now!
dc: (Satellite 1)
Satellite 2  will take place on the 25th and 26th of July, 2009, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Glasgow. Guest of Honour is Iain M. Banks (whose new Culture novel, Matter, has just been published, by the way).

LJ here: [livejournal.com profile] satellite_2

Yahoo group here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Satellite_2/

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